Raisins and Almonds

Written by Kerry Greenwood
Review by Vicki Kondelik


This is the ninth installment in Kerry Greenwood’s series featuring Phryne Fisher, a wealthy, fashionable private investigator in Melbourne, Australia, in 1928.

Phryne is dancing with her latest lover, young Simon Abrahams, when his father asks her to investigate the murder of a Jewish student in a bookshop. Miss Lee, the bookseller, has been arrested, but after an interview with her, Phryne can tell that she is innocent. Phryne finds mysterious alchemical symbols in the dead man’s pockets, and she soon discovers that he was involved with a group of Zionists. What is the connection between the symbols and Zionism? Phryne and friends—her maid Dot, her adopted daughters Jane and Ruth, the Communist taxi drivers Bert and Cec, and Detective Inspector Robinson—must find the killer before an innocent woman is executed.

Phryne is a delightful character–clever and independent, with an unconventional lifestyle, and the author gives us wonderful insights into Jewish life in Australia in the 1920s. This was the first Phryne Fisher mystery I’ve read, and, although I do think I have missed something by not having read the previous volumes, I still had no problem sorting out the characters. I am eager to read more of Phryne’s adventures.